Senior health: Diet tips for older adults

As we grow older, our diet requirements naturally change.
The American Institute on Aging has some great tips for older adults to help people feel better, reduce the risk for illness and even live longer.
MyPlate for Older Adults was developed in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University as a companion to MyPlate, the federal government’s food group symbol.
These diet tips for seniors point out the nutritional and physical activity needs of people as they age.
Here are some of the highlights of MyPlate for Older Adults that any senior should know, or people can pass on to seniors:
* Limit foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats, as well as going easy on salt and added sugars.
* Eat plenty of whole grains.
* If a doctor suggests following a limited diet to manage a condition like diabetes, heart or kidney disease, consider working with a dietician to set up a food plan.
* Remember that your metabolism slows as you grow older. If you keep eating the same types and amounts of food without increasing your activity level, you will most likely gain weight. That’s because your metabolism (how your body gets energy from food) slows with age.
* Senior citizens should eat a well-balanced diet, rich with a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains.
* Consider supplements such as Omega 3 fatty acids (proven to reduce inflammation, which can cause heart disease, cancer and arthritis). Omega 3s can also be found in fish and flaxseed oil.
Also make sure seniors are getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D. The need for these go up with age and they help preserve bone health.
These are just basic tips. Consult a doctor for specific diet tips.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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